Monday, April 23, 2007

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

American Born Chinese was on my list to read before it won the Printz Award, thanks to Michael Cart's presentation at this year's ISLMA conference. He raved about it, so, even though it didn't sound like something I'd pick up on my own, I wanted to read it. It took forever for our library copy to get here, however. Then some students wanted it, and I loaned to to a teacher who was just getting into graphic novels...and so on. Finally, on Friday, a snagged it for myself and took it home to read over the weekend.

It's actually three stories that seem to have no connection. One is the story of Jin Wang, and American born Chinese, who wants nothing more than to fit in. The second is the story of Danny and his cousin Chinkee, who is a glaringly offensive portrayal of the stereotyped image of a Chinese immigrant - pidgin grammar, silk pajamas, etc. Last is the story of the Monkey King and his desire to obtain a higher consciousness and thus no longer be a monkey.

At first I was nervous the story lines wouldn't tie together and I'd be left trying to puzzle out their meanings. I had nothing to worry about, however. Gene Luen Yang does an excellent job of bringing the stories together to illustrate what it feels like to be and outsider in two cultures.

What I'm Reading: The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

On My Bookshelf: Queen of the Slayers; Buffy Season 8; Beastly by Alex Flinn


Post a Comment

<< Home